What many billed as an opportunity for Todd Graham and the Arizona State football program to take the “next step” turned into Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks showing the nation they’re the serious BCS Championship contender we thought they were.
The “Quack Attack” waltzed into Sun Devil Stadium and pasted ASU 43-21 in front of 70,001 ‘Blacked Out’ fans in Tempe.
“I want to apologize to our fans,” head coach Todd Graham said. “I did a poor job getting our guys ready. We do have a good football team. We got beat by a really, really good football team. We did a poor job of adjusting and preparing.”
The Sun Devils (5-2, 2-1) won the toss and deferred. On the Ducks (7-0, 3-0) first offensive play defensive tackle Will Sutton stormed the Oregon backfield forcing a Marcus Mariota fumble which was recovered by Davon Coleman. Moments after the turnover Sutton was helped off the field by trainers after injuring his right knee and did not return.
One play later Taylor Kelly found Kevin Ozier who snuck behind the UO secondary for a 28-yard score and quick 7-0 lead following Alex Garoutte’s point after.
The Ducks responded immediately when senior running back Kenyon Barner sprinted 71 yards thru the heart of the Devils defense to pull Oregon within a point just over a minute into the first quarter. They took the lead when holder Jackson Rice hit the kicker Rob Beard for a two-point conversation.
Following a missed Alex Garoutte 43-yard field goal, Mariota marched the Ducks down the field converting a 4th and three with a 14-yard scramble down to the ASU 12. Two plays later Mariota hit freshman wideout Bralon Addison on a beautiful fade pattern in the corner of the end zone to pad the Ducks lead to 15-7.
After the Devils went three and out, Mariota continued to gash ASU with the zone read wearing down ASU’s depleted interior line. Backup quarterback Bryan Bennett then capped a grinding 15-play, 78 yard drive connecting with Mariota on 3rd and goal from the two making it 22-7.
Chip Kelly’s offense rolled up 233 total yards (199 rushing) in the quarter, compared to 98 for ASU.
The Ducks picked up right where they left off to start the second when linebacker Boseko Lokombo stepped in front of Kelly’s pass in front of the Oregon bench and returned it deep in ASU territory. Barner got the hat trick less than a minute into the quarter when he took it in for a yard out making it 29-7 after the conversion.
The onslaught continued when Mariota fooled the Devils again keeping it out of the shotgun and racing 86 yards making it 36-7 with over 12 minutes to play before halftime.
After Kelly’s second interception, Barner hit pay dirt from a yard out making it 43-7.
“Mistakes,” safety Alden Darby said was the biggest early breakdown defensively. “Once you hit the wrong gap or [take] the wrong assignment, they’ll take it all the way.”
The halftime stats reflected the Ducks total domination. UO had 377 total yards, compared to ASU’s 139. Barner and Mariota combined for 271 rushing yards and four touchdowns alone.
Kelly and the Ducks took their foot off the gas after halftime playing Bennett at quarterback and several reserves, content to slow the pinball machine pace and chew clock coasting to a surprisingly easy conference road win.
The Devils added a pair of late touchdowns, but the damage was done.
“They have some pretty dynamic players,” Graham explained. “You have to give those guys some credit. They’re the real deal…we got hit by a hammer tonight.”